Evening dress

Design House: House of Givenchy (French, founded 1952)

Designer: Hubert de Givenchy (French, born Beauvais, 1927)

Date: 1963

Culture: French

Medium: cotton, glass, coral

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. John Hay Whitney, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.184.2


Coral with matching glass beads is applied in high relief on the armature of a minimalist Givenchy silhouette. A princess-seam dress skimming the torso, but flaring to the hem, is almost severe, but it is rendered rococo and ornate by the surface treatment. Givenchy's special trait was to find an equilibrium between excess and the reductive. An austere form supports a heavily encrusted embroidery, making a gown that works both as an extravagance and as a spartan design.